July 27, 2005 • Posted in Letter to the Editor
New York Times Magazine, 07/24/05—Response by Tony Smith, Fauna Foundation
While Charles Siebert’s article “A Planet of the Retired Apes” answered many questions, it left some questions not only unanswered but not even asked.
As someone who intimately knows the sanctuary life of chimpanzees formerly used in research, my predominant concern is that retirement not be conveyed as an easy walk on the beach. Chimpanzees used for decades in biomedical research and housed in the typical laboratory setting have scars from which they need to heal. Some chimps do quite well with new found safety and care; others have lingering anxieties fears and illnesses that will never heal.
In the past several years, our sanctuary has mourned the sudden deaths of three relatively young chimpanzees with deep physical and emotional scars caused by decades of experimental protocols. We support immediate sanctuary for the remaining 1,200 chimpanzees in labs in the U.S. before it’s too late for them.
The Fauna Foundation